Marine hydrokinetics company Pelamis Wave Power falls into “administration”

Pelamis Wave Energy technology

Blair Nimmo and Gary Fraser of KPMG have been appointed as joint administrators of Pelamis Wave Power, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Pelamis officials announced Nov. 21 the wave energy company has been unable to secure additional funding required for further development of Pelamis’ wave energy technology.

“As a result of this the board has reluctantly moved to appoint an administrator to assess the options for securing the future for the business and employees of Pelamis,” according to a Pelamis press release.

“The Pelamis is an offshore wave energy converter that uses the motion of waves to generate electricity,” according to the company. “The machine operates in water depths greater than 50 m and is typically installed 2-10 km from the coast. The machine is rated at 750 kW with a target capacity factor of 25-40%, depending on the conditions at the chosen project site.”

Pelamis has produced six full-scale machines to date, including two of the latest “P2” design.

Pelamis said it recently received a strong endorsement of its leading position from independent consultants following a series of due diligence exercises. This work included detailed assessments of the onward commercial viability of the technology and designs, according to the company.

Research community  

“EMEC is saddened to hear that its oldest customer has gone into administration,” said Neil Kermode, European Marine Energy Centre Ltd. (EMEC) managing director.
EMEC was established in 2003 and provides independently accredited purpose-built, open sea test facilities for wave and tidal energy converters in Orkney, Scotland.

“As a Scottish world leader Pelamis have been one of the icons of the marine renewables industry,” Kermode said, “so we are absolutely gutted at this setback.”

“[The] announcement is undoubtedly a big setback in the mission to learn how to harvest energy from the sea, but the prize is still there. The waves will keep pounding into the Orkney coastline and the world is still using precious and irreplaceable fossil fuels at an increasing rate.

“We know marine energy will have its day. It just looks a bit harder tonight.”

EMEC is a US$4.7 million research facility that is home to some of the most innovative marine energy devices currently in development, having supported the deployment of more wave and tidal energy technologies than any other single site in the world, according to the organization.

“While this news is clearly concerning for the company and its employees, it shows both the challenging conditions in which this sector operates and the risks inherent in developing new technology,” said Lindsay Leask, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables (SR).

SR works with the Scottish and UK governments, their enterprise agencies, and other relevant organizations to secure the optimal conditions to maximize development of responsibly sited hydro schemes, according to SR.

“Pelamis Wave Power’s contribution to this emerging industry has helped cement Scotland’s position as a global leader, and it is important to remember that the prize from the eventual commercialization of wave energy remains hugely significant,” Leask said.

“The contribution of Pelamis’ employees to the development of this technology has been immensely important, and it is to be hoped that a viable way forward can now be found for the business.”

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